Books Online Store
UK | Germany
books   baby   camera   computers   dvd   games   electronics   garden   kitchen   magazines   music   phones   software   tools   toys   video  
Books - Biographies & Memoirs - People, A-Z - Hooked on maritime adventure stories.

1-18 of 18       1
Featured ListSimple List

  • ( A ) (favr)  (list)
  • ( B ) (favr)  (list)
  • ( C ) (favr)  (list)
  • ( D ) (favr)  (list)
  • ( E ) (favr)  (list)
  • ( F ) (favr)  (list)
  • ( G ) (favr)  (list)
  • ( H ) (favr)  (list)
  • ( I ) (favr)  (list)
  • ( J ) (favr)  (list)
  • ( K ) (favr)  (list)
  • ( L ) (favr)  (list)
  • ( M ) (favr)  (list)
  • ( N ) (favr)  (list)
  • ( O ) (favr)  (list)
  • ( P ) (favr)  (list)
  • ( R ) (favr)  (list)
  • ( S ) (favr)  (list)
  • ( T ) (favr)  (list)
  • ( W ) (favr)  (list)
  • ( Y ) (favr)  (list)
  • Go to bottom to see all images

    Click image to enlarge

    Two Years Before the Mast: A Personal Narrative (Signet Classics (Paperback))
    by Richard Henry, Jr. Dana
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Mass Market Paperback (01 March, 2000)
    list price: $6.95 -- our price: $6.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France
    Reviews (36)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Extremely readable after 165 years.Awesome autobiography
    I was very pleasantly surprised at how readable this book was, considering it is 165 years old.It is a remarkable first person account!Since I live in Los Angeles and am also familiar with Boston, I found the descriptions of these two locations to be particularly interesting.It's difficult to imagine how wild and undeveloped SoCal was so (relatively) recently.There is a lot of technical jargon related to old sailing vessels but glossing over these terms in comparative ignorance did nothing to significantly diminish my enjoyment.Recommended!

    4-0 out of 5 stars The Toughest Cure
    Sailing out of Boston to reach the California coast in 1834 proved a daunting proposition even for seasoned sailors, but young Richard Henry Dana felt up to the challenge and signed on the PILGRIM all the same. Not because he was passionate for life on the sea, but as a result of his doctor?s orders.Prolonged study at Harvard has damaged his eyes, so the brave young men undertook a two-year odyssey which included two trips around deadly Cape Horn.One of the first lessons he learned was that a sailor?s work is Never done.Now a captain?s authority is a absolute on shipboard, but few of this captain?s decisions and actions were perceived as just or humane.

    This readable edition provides an excellent introduction for elementary students to the glories of American classics; this version offers generous amounts of dialogue with little of theintrospection of the original.The onboard action moves along at clipper-ship pace.Dana even enjoys a cross-cultural experience as he learns to speak Spanish and observes the customs of the natives of Alta California under Mexican rule.

    Enhanced by excellent brown and white illustrations of Dennis Dierks, this book will interest young readers, who will barely be aware that they are learning about the difficult cow hide trade in the declining days of the California missions.Dana realized the importance of trust between the officers and crew on a ship, as well as the camaraderie between ships on two mighty oceans. Surviving both natural and human disasters Dana returns home able to recall in vivid detail the events of his transformation from a Green Hand into a true Salt!

    5-0 out of 5 stars A timeless escape from academia
    I'm working in a lab this summer. I've had all manner of jobs, but this is the first where I do nothing but think, and I feel ambivalent about it. When I go on lunch breaks, I bring TWO YEARS BEFORE THE MAST.

    I've never found a non-fiction book quite like it before, though I own many in this genre. You may find other sea stories with more excitment (the O'Brien series is excellent), more daring (Joshua Slocum's account SAILING ALONE AROUND THE WORLD is a classic), or a more contemporary feeling (Robin Lee Grahm's DOVE has an optimistic 60's sensibility), but you will NOT find the sheer thoughtfulness that makes this book so much worth reading.

    Dana is a remarkable observer. He is farsighted, identifying San Francisco as the likely center of California's future prosperity, yet he is clearly affected by many of the prejudices of his era. He is always honest about his thoughts and feelings and he never lets his education or his background spoil his intercourse with the fascinating and often raw characters that he meets. Still, Dana wavers in his original objective. Though he intends to lay bare the iniquities of sea life to the landlubber, he ends up seducing his readers with the sheer adventure of his life.

    This book will take you away (in the best of "Reading Rainbow" fashion) whenever you read it. For that extra touch of authenticity, bring it along on a cruise, or better yet, read it in a hammock. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0451527593
    Sales Rank: 82500
    Subjects:  1. 1815-1882    2. Alert (Brig : 1843-1862)    3. Classics    4. Dana, Richard Henry,    5. Essays & Travelogues    6. Fiction    7. Literature: Classics    8. Maritime History    9. Pilgrim (Brig)    10. Sailing - Narratives    11. Seafaring life    12. Travel    13. Travel - General    14. Voyages and travels    15. Dana, Richard Henry    16. Journeys   


    Mutiny on the Bounty: A Novel
    by Charles Nordhoff, James Norman Hall
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (11 April, 1989)
    list price: $13.95 -- our price: $11.16
    (price subject to change: see help)
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France
    Reviews (20)

    5-0 out of 5 stars No More Holywood Versions!
    I finally got a copy of this book after a lifetime of seeing the story altered and parodied in cinema and television. If you want a great account of the events, that is also interesting reading, look no further. Dont bother to rent the DVD version of the movie, which has just been released. Otherwise you would think that Bligh returns to tahiti to capture Christian personally, which isn't in the book. You would think that Byam got to confront Bligh after being wrongly accused, which isn't in the book. And you would think that people were being keel-hauled from the bounty, which was explicitely stated in the book as being a practice banned years before. If you must watch a movie , watch Mel Gibsons version, but first read the book so you can seperate facts from Holywood "artistic license."

    5-0 out of 5 stars Mutiny on the Bounty
    This is a wonderful book about the taking of the ship Bounty
    by its crew. It is well written much in the character of a
    romance novel. The work teaches the futility of managing
    small groups via coercion and excess force. Captain Bligh
    is nowhere near the equal of Fletcher Christian in managing
    the crew and handling daily ministerial decisions.
    In almost every instance, Captain Bligh resolves conflict
    with excessive punishment and flippant directives.
    With every moment, the crew resents his presence even more.
    The readers can appreciate the easy contrast between Captain
    Bligh and Fletcher Christian. Further into the novel,
    a military court procedure leaves the judges perplexed
    and ultimately disappointed in the disproportionate
    punishments administered by Captain Bligh. Near the end of
    the novel, his judgment is questioned and the audience
    develops more sympathy for the person of Fletcher Christian
    and his crew. The novel portrays a beautiful wilderness and
    island paradise replete with exotic wildlife and fresh
    fruit of every color and taste. Students will debate this
    novel for years to come. It is appropriate for the high
    school reading audience.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Thrilling classic of adventure at Sea
    Although "Mutiny" may be one of the "classics" usually thoroughly despised by young people I must say that after reading it I have a much more open mind when it comes to other "classics". "Mutiny of the Bounty" is a thrilling historical fiction adventure at sea. One of the most amazing things about the book is that it has the excitement of a fiction book while staying fairly true to its historical roots. It is a harsh demonstration of seagoing life in the late 1700's (the voyage takes place in 1788-1789) and a beautiful description of life on primitive Tahiti. Nordhoff and Hall use imagery on par with the best authors of our times to bring a view of 18th century Tahiti to our minds where we can imagine the peacefull life of the Indians and sailors there. It also does a great job of creating a theme so emotional that it is difficult to put to words. Another reviewer on this site accurately described it as something along the lines of "a story of misuse of power and the necessity of men to support authority figures to keep order even if they abuse their power" (not an exact quote). This is especially relevant to life at sea where without strict discipline a ship and her crew would be in constant peril. The narrator, Rodger Byam (a fictional character based very strongly on a real midshipman on Bounty named Peter Heywood), tells of his life on Tahiti with his adopted family, his wife and daughter, and his trip in irons back to Mother England, where he discovers that he is to be tried for a mutiny which he had no part in. In several amazing plot twists however his case goes from death to freedom when a man thought to be dead surfaces from a tragedy at sea. I give the book five stars as it is not only on of the most well written books I have ever read, with simply dazzling imagery, but also conveys very emotional theme. It is a must read for anyone of any age capable of reading it. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0316611689
    Sales Rank: 258154
    Subjects:  1. 1754-1817    2. 18th century    3. Bligh, William,    4. Bounty Mutiny, 1789    5. Children: Young Adult (Gr. 7-9)    6. Classics    7. Fiction    8. Fiction - General    9. General    10. Great Britain    11. History, Naval    12. Sea stories    13. Bligh, William    14. Fiction / Classics   


    In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex
    by Nathaniel Philbrick
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (04 May, 2000)
    list price: $24.95 -- our price: $16.97
    (price subject to change: see help)
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France

    Editorial Review

    The appeal of Dava Sobel's Longitude was, in part, that it illuminated a little-known piece of history through a series of captivating incidents and engaging personalities. Nathaniel Philbrick's In the Heart of the Sea is certainly cast from the same mold, examining the 19th-century Pacific whaling industry through the arc of the sinking of the whaleship Essex by a boisterous sperm whale. The story that inspired Herman Melville's classic Moby-Dick has a lot going for it--derring-do, cannibalism, rescue--and Philbrick proves an amiable and well-informed narrator, providing both context and detail. We learn about the importance and mechanics of blubber production--a vital source of oil--and we get the nuts and bolts of harpooning and life aboard whalers. We are spared neither the nitty-gritty of open boats nor the sucking of human bones dry.

    By sticking to the tried and tested Longitude formula, Philbrick has missed a slight trick or two. The epicenter of the whaling industry was Nantucket, a small island off Cape Cod; most of the whales were in the Pacific, necessitating a huge journey around the southernmost tip of South America. We never learn why no one ever tried to create an alternative whaling capital somewhere nearer. Similarly, Philbrick tells us that the story of the Essex was well known to Americans for decades, but he never explores how such legends fade from our consciousness. Philbrick would no doubt reply that such questions were beyond his remit, and you can't exactly accuse him of skimping on his research. By any standard, 50 pages of footnotes impress, though he wears his learning lightly. He doesn't get bogged down in turgid detail, and his narrative rattles along at a nice pace. When the storyline is as good as this, you can't really ask for more. --John Crace, Amazon.co.uk ... Read more

    Reviews (225)

    4-0 out of 5 stars In The Heart Of The Sea
    Philbrick does a wonderful job of pulling you back in time to Nantucket Island in the 1800s.With his vivid descriptions not only can you envision the island, but you're also given a feel of how important the fishing and whaling industry was at this time, "Nantucket was a town of roof dwellers.Nearly every house, its shingles painted red or left to weather into gray, had a roof-mounted platform known as a walk.While its intended use was to facilitate putting out chimney fires with buckets of sand, the walk was also an excellent place to look out to see with a spyglass, to search for the sails of returning ships."Details are one of this author's extreme strengths.You gain a vast amount of knowledge on topics such as the roles men and women played within the Nantucket culture in history, what happens to the human body physiologically when it wastes away from starvation and dehydration, and of course; the dangerous world of whaling in history, how and why it occurred.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Consuming read
    A mind-blowing Poe-ish experience of adventure and woe.Philbrick is to be commended on his genius of researching and recreating the sad but true tale of the battered, sunken 1820 whaleship Essex and its shipmates.
    After being rammed by an eighty-five foot monster sperm whale, twenty men leap into three whale boats and aimlessly wander around the Pacific for ninety days.Except for a brief visit at an uninhabited island, the men subsist on next to nothing until some of them start to perish from lack of food, water, exertion and nature.Only eight survive the ordeal (three of those being rescued months later at the aforementioned island).The accounts of these men clinging to life are beyond the scope of human imagination.
    The basis for Melville's classic Moby Dick.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Pacific Blues
    Epics rouse the heroic, the tragic, the self in extremis. I, for one, am content for others to scale the Himalayas, the Andes and endure privations that leave me cosily to tend the garden.But I don't in the least mind reading of other's travails, especially when the writing can convey the spectrum of sense data that challenges the participants.'The Heart of the Sea' recounts one of the great whaling stories of the C19th, and without subtracting from the ethos of Nantucket's society, quite plausibly suggests how, if the tragedy of the 'Essex' could not be avoided, could have unfolded differently had the social mix been different. A relatively recent publication of one of the survivor's accounts, adds to Nathaniel Philbrick's grasp. Without studious fuss, he embeds relevant data on what happens to bodies deprived of water and food over extrended periods, cannabalism, the manner by which whaling crafts were built, navigation means of the early C19th and fullsome images of the spectre of the whale and its value to the industry of those times. Above all there is the shadow of Mellville's mammoth, Moby, a momentous story that surely guided Philbrick's magnificently evocative re-telling.The salt is on every page and the sea's rhythmns shape the irrevocable pace of the writing. Utterly consuming. Readers excited by this book might look at Alexander McKee's,'Death Raft' about the survivors of the French frigate,'Medusa' which wrecked only a few years before the 'essex'. While not rivalling Philbrick's poetic language, it is worth a dip. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0670891576
    Subjects:  1. Essex (Whaleship)    2. History    3. History - General History    4. History: American    5. Maritime History    6. Pacific Ocean    7. Ships & Shipbuilding - Shipwrecks    8. Shipwrecks    9. United States - 19th Century    10. History / General   


    Godforsaken Sea : The True Story of a Race Through the World's Most Dangerous Waters
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (06 June, 2000)
    list price: $14.00 -- our price: $10.50
    (price subject to change: see help)
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France

    Editorial Review

    The Southern Ocean is the sailor's Everest. These are unquestionably the most dangerous waters in the world: hurricane infested, frigid, wholly unpredictable, and so remote, according to Derek Lundy, that "only a few astronauts have ever been further from land than a person on a vessel in that position." Encircling Antarctica, this fearsome body of water has terrorized sailors and wrecked the ablest of ships throughout maritime history. Imagine, then, a round-the-world, single-handed sailing race of the most extreme kind--no stopping, no assistance--requiring each lone sailor to spend half the total race distance (roughly 13,000 miles) fighting this nightmarish, merciless sea.

    The race is the Vendee Globe, and The Godforsaken Sea is the story of the 1996-1997 competition. Fourteen men and two women began the race in Les Sables-d'Olonne, France. Six officially finished; three were wrecked and rescued; one sailor performed emergency surgery on himself mid-race; one perished. This is high adventure of the most gripping, perilous sort, demanding a tightly controlled, suspenseful narrative: "Visualize a never-ending series of five- or six-story buildings, with sloping sides of various angles ... moving towards [the sailors] at forty miles an hour. Some of the time, the top one or two stories will collapse on top of them." But Lundy delivers more, weaving a superior fabric of psychology and physics, action and reflection. Even the utter novice will emerge understanding the architecture of racing vessels, the evolution of storms, the physical and psychological courage required to survive five-and-a half months battling the ocean alone.

    Sailing aficionados may already believe that the Vendee Globe is the pinnacle of extreme sports. With Lundy's help, armchair adventurers can dig in and hang on for the ride. --Svenja Soldovieri ... Read more

    Reviews (57)

    5-0 out of 5 stars difficult but worth it
    This book is so full of information it is difficult to get into, but all of the narrative is well worth the effort.It covers so many of the important aspects related to sailing in very difficult conditions.It also relates aspects of sailboat design associated with sailing in dangerous seas.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A sailing book readers
    I read many, many books on sailing.Don't bother to read many others.Only Derek Lundy's book and Moitissier's own book 'The Long Way' are truly above the rest.This book got me also got interested in other aspects of the outdoors and mans place in nature.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Good book if you're into sailing.
    If you like sailing get the book.The things they do are truly amazing. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0385720009
    Subjects:  1. General    2. Literary Criticism    3. Sailing - General    4. Sports    5. Sports & Recreation    6. Vendee Globe (Yacht race)    7. Sports & Recreation / Sailing   


    Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage
    by Alfred Lansing
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 March, 1999)
    list price: $13.95 -- our price: $11.16
    (price subject to change: see help)
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France

    Editorial Review

    In the summer of 1914, Sir Ernest Shackleton set off aboard theEndurance bound for the South Atlantic. The goal of hisexpedition was to cross the Antarctic overland, but more than a yearlater, and still half a continent away from the intended base, theEndurance was trapped in ice and eventually was crushed. Forfive months Shackleton and his crew survived on drifting ice packs inone of the most savage regions of the world before they were finallyable to set sail again in one of the ship's lifeboats. Alfred Lansing'sEndurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage is a white-knuckleaccount of this astounding odyssey.

    Through the diaries of teammembers and interviews with survivors, Lansing reconstructs the monthsof terror and hardship the Endurance crew suffered. In Octoberof 1915, there "were no helicopters, no Weasels, no Sno-Cats, nosuitable planes. Thus their plight was naked and terrifying in itssimplicity. If they were to get out--they had to get themselvesout." How Shackleton did indeed get them out without the loss of asingle life is at the heart of Lansing's magnificent true-lifeadventure tale. ... Read more

    Reviews (349)

    5-0 out of 5 stars "Man proposes [God disposes]" ---diary entry
    Endurance by Alfred Lansing was first published in 1959.The copy I have is a 26th printing which indicates how popular this book has been.It is an adventure story that is entirely historical.It covers the 1914/15 attempt of explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton and his crew of 27 to be the first to cross the Antarctic continent overland west to east.This goal was interrupted for good when their ship, the Endurance, became trapped in ice in the Weddell Sea.The call for adventure soon became a constant struggle for survival that lasted ten months.The crew set up camp on various ice floes only to be forced to move when the dreaded cracks appeared.Their progress towards land is controlled by the direction and force of the gales.Conditions change almost daily in the chaotic and brutal Antarctic climate.When the ice floes were no longer an option, the crew set out in three small boats taken on the voyage hoping to find land.Once land was found, the crew split up as six members took one of the small boats into the dreaded Drake Passage in the hopes of finding help.Both groups were in danger of not surviving the unforgiving environment.

    Lansing bases his work on interviews with survivors and the waterlogged diaries several of them kept.He is thus able to provide the reader with details of the crew's day-to-day life.Everything from the personalities of various members to their diets, clothing, attempts at building shelters, etc. are described.I do not have knowledge of seafaring vocabulary or conditions, but Lansing is able to describe such things as the pressure caused by broken floes of ice (p.47) in a clear manner.As an historical event, this story needs no poetic license.It is one of the most suspenseful history books I have read.Just when things looked good for the crew, the tide turned and vice versa. After reading what all these 28 men went through, the ending, although surprisingly brief, was very moving.

    The only part of the book that disappointed me was the ending.I wanted to know what happened to some of the main characters after their ordeal.The epilogue just covers the attempt to rescue the 22 members left on Elephant Island and goes no further.It seemed unfair to leave the story like that.Despite this shortcoming, I definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in historical adventure.It is one of the best books of that ilk one will read.One interesting note: Shackleton's goal was not achieved until 1958, 40 years after Shackleton set out on the Endurance and a year before this book was first published.It is 282 pages and includes a short section of b&w photos and illustrations.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A triumph in adventure storytelling
    This is one of the most fascinating adventure stories I've ever read.

    Expeditions to Antarctica in the 20th century did not always turn out well.And this is one of many that did not achieve its objectives.The idea was to cross the Antarctic continent.And I do recommend the book by Vivian Fuchs and Edmund Hillary on the first successful crossing of Antarctica, which was completed only in 1958.

    This book is about the 1914-1916 Shackleton expedition, which attempted to start by reaching Vahsel Bay in Antarctica using a strong 144-foot, 350 horsepower wooden ship named the Endurance.

    But the Endurance never quite reached Vahsel Bay.Instead, it became stuck in the ice near the Antarctic coast and eventually had to be abandoned.That left the crew having to find a way to reach land, survive on that land, and find a way to send for help so that it could be rescued. Even for a crew that had been prepared for being in cold weather and difficult circumstances, this turned out to be tricky.It makes one amazed at how able people are to survive in extreme environments.And, of course, this book is a testament to the leadership of Ernest Shackleton.

    Not only is the book very well-written and suspenseful, it also includes some terrific photos about the expedition.It's a great work of non-fiction, and I highly recommend it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The greatest human leader of men
    Shackleton failed to reach the South Pole in 1902 and stopped 460 miles from the Pole; six years later Shackleton turned back 97 miles from the Pole after realizing it would be certain death by starvation if he continued.King Edward VII recognized as a hero Shackleton and knighted him.

    1914-1916 Endurance expediation lead Shackleton and his men 1200 miles from civilization and in one of the worst situations possible.Pack ice had trapped, dragged the ship for ten months, and eventually crushed the ship.The men had to rely on life boats salvaged from the ship.The men endure temperature far below zero, four months of darkness, survived on a diet of penguin, seal, and sometimes dog.Once the ice began to melt the men moved to the life boats and spent week fighting for their lives before hitting land, Elphant Island and at Elephant Island the men spent most of their time huddle under overturn boats. The men suffered extreme boredom, starvation, extreme discomfort, and lost of hope.Shackleton offer his men hope.Shackleton was charming both a poet and adventure.His men never doubt Shackleton's discipline and Shackleton'sbrotherhood with his men help overcome intense boredom as they sang songs, played games, and wrote of their experiences.

    Shackleton decided to take five men and sailed 800 miles in the most sever weather and oceanic conditions to South Georgia and return and rescue his men.The interesting fact about the journey was Shackleton planned to succeed by sailing to South Georgia using Star navigation, and if, the navigation was any degree imprecise their deaths were sealed.The Altantic has some of the harshess waves, it is amazingly cold, and no modern expediation has successfully completed the Shackleton crossing to Georgia. The Altantic ocean was too much.

    Upon reaching South Georgia, Shackleton realizes they are on the wrong side and proceeded to accomplish another amazing feat, the crossing over of the South Georgia Mountain, at the only time of the year possible for the crossing. The whalers were in awe of Shackelton and his partners as they walked down the mountain. They seemed invincible.Shackleton turns right around and launches a rescue mission for his trapped men on Elphant Island.Not one man was lost in the expedition and his men shout for joy in seeing their captain Shackleton approach to rescue them.

    "I love the fight and when things are easy, I hate it".

    British explorer Apsley Cherry-Garrard, "For a join scientific and geographical piece of organization, give me Scott; for a winter journey, give me Wilson, for a dash to the Pole and nothing else, Amundsen; and if I am in the devil of a hole and want to get out of it, give me Shackleton every time."

    "By endurance we conquer".Shackleton replaced the War Hero of World War I with the exploration hero.Shackleton gave hope to the world. Men died for honour, instead of fearing death.Europe and America were invigorated with Shackleton's courage.
    "He had a quick brain, and he could visualize things a head, and as far as he could he safeguarded any eventuality that was likely to occur" - Lionel Greenstreet

    "His method of discipline was very fair.He did not believe in unnecessary discipline." - William Bakewell

    "No matter what turns up, he is always ready to alter his plans and make fresh ones, and in the meantime laughs, jokes, and enjoys a joke with everyone, and in this way keeps everyone's spirits up" - Frank Worsley.

    ... Read more

    Isbn: 078670621X
    Subjects:  1. (1914-1917)    2. 1874-1922    3. Adventurers & Explorers    4. Antarctica    5. Biography & Autobiography    6. Biography / Autobiography    7. Biography/Autobiography    8. Endurance (Ship)    9. Historical - British    10. Historical - General    11. Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition    12. Shackleton, Ernest Henry,    13. Sir,    14. Travel    15. Journeys    16. Shackleton, Ernest Henry   


    Working on the Edge : Surviving In the World's Most Dangerous Profession: King Crab Fishing on Alaska's HighSeas
    by Spike Walker
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (15 March, 1993)
    list price: $14.95 -- our price: $10.17
    (price subject to change: see help)
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France
    Reviews (34)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Real Life
    This book is filled with true stories of people who live for excitement or have no other choice of jobs.It is gripping and begs that you stay awake for yet another page or three, long past your bedtime.Just buy it!

    3-0 out of 5 stars Could be about 100 pages shorter
    I enjoyed a lot of this book, but after a while it got pretty boring. All those heroic sturdy men wrestling the crabpots around the deck, the huge seas, the long drunks. The story gets repetitious after a while, and then you start to pay closer attention to the author's style, and it does not really bear much close scrutiny. A lot of it is overwrought and amateurish, full of cliches. Worst for me about the book was that in the end I was wondering what is so heroic about risking your life to make a lot of money really fast.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A GREAT READ
    In "Working on the Edge" Spike Walker takes us through the trials and tribulations that present themselves through numerous crab seasons.This book is so well written, that there are times where you feel like you are on the deck pulling in a crab pot right there with him.If you want to a great book about "The Worlds Most Dangerous Profession", I suggest you read this book! ... Read more

    Isbn: 0312089244
    Sales Rank: 64922
    Subjects:  1. Agriculture - General    2. Alaska    3. Alaskan king crab fisheries    4. Biography    5. Fishers    6. General    7. Nature / Field Guide Books    8. Nature/Ecology    9. Walker, Spike    10. Technology / Fisheries & Aquaculture   


    The Hungry Ocean : A Swordboat Captain's Journey
    by Linda Greenlaw
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (07 June, 2000)
    list price: $14.00 -- our price: $11.20
    (price subject to change: see help)
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France

    Editorial Review

    The term fisherwoman does not exactly roll trippingly off the tongue, and Linda Greenlaw, the world's only female swordfish boat captain, isn't flattered when people insist on calling her one. "I am a woman. I am a fisherman... I am not a fisherwoman, fisherlady, or fishergirl. If anything else, I am a thirty-seven-year-old tomboy. It's a word I have never outgrown." Greenlaw also happens to be one of the most successful fishermen in the Grand Banks commercial fleet, though until the publication of Sebastian Junger's The Perfect Storm, "nobody cared." Greenlaw's boat, the Hannah Boden, was the sister ship to the doomed Andrea Gail, which disappeared in the mother of all storms in 1991 and became the focus of Junger's book. The Hungry Ocean, Greenlaw's account of a monthlong swordfishing trip over 1,000 nautical miles out to sea, tells the story of what happens when things go right--proving, in the process, that every successful voyage is a study in narrowly averted disaster.

    There is the weather, the constant danger of mechanical failure, the perils of controlling five sleep-, women-, and booze-deprived young fishermen in close quarters, not to mention the threat of a bad fishing run: "If we don't catch fish, we don't get paid, period. In short, there is no labor union." Greenlaw's straightforward, uncluttered prose underscores the qualities that make her a good captain, regardless of gender: fairness, physical and mental endurance, obsessive attention to detail. But, ultimately, Greenlaw proves that the love of fishing--in all of its grueling, isolating, suspenseful glory--is a matter of the heart and blood, not the mind. "I knew that the ocean had stories to tell me, all I needed to do was listen." --Svenja Soldovieri ... Read more

    Reviews (193)

    3-0 out of 5 stars am i sea sick or was that sordfish bad?
    Greenlaw's Hungry Ocean rode the wave of the Perfect Storm's immense popularity to best seller lists, but left me hungry for more. No, not a longer book or a sequel, but vision that revealed more about this presumably interesting figure. Greenlaw's account of her experiences as a swordifish captain is filled with potential. I rooted for her- she was afterall a woman winning a man's game.
    But ultimately I felt cheated by this tome. I wanted Greenlaw to reveal more. How did she become the top swordfish captain? I sensed she was at once ruthless, incredibly intelligent, and extraordinarily hardworking, but I felt as I filled in the blanks from the too often cursory information provided by the author. Her minimalist style opens the door to the world of deep sea fishing, but I found the water murky.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A non-fiction page turner
    This is a great summer read. If you are interested in the life of a real fisherman, but don't want to get bogged down in all the details of a book like The Perfect Storm, then this is for you. Greenlaw gives lots of great stories and descriptive narrative that makes you feel like you are on the boat with her crew. From the thrill of a big catch, through the boredom of finding the right place to fish, to the personality conflicts between crew members and captains of other boats, this was an interesting and informative book.

    3-0 out of 5 stars A very good read about something most of us will never do
    This book isn't life-changing or even inspirational--in a good way.I was hesitant initially because I thought the book might work a 'girl-power' angle as Greenlaw is one of, if not the only, female swordfish captains in the world.Instead, it does a fantastic job of describing a world most of us will never know--the inner workings of a fisherman's (woman's) life: the politics involved in pleasing a demanding boat owner and restless crew, the tedious waiting game where instincts and electronics seek the elusive fish many days away from shore, and the excitment of the non-stop work when the fishing is good.It even gives an account of the finances involved including a breakdown of the market price of fish and how it affects everyone's pay.I had no idea of the immense costs each fishing trip takes in equipment, food, and gas.It is a great look at the day-to-day life.Where it falls short is addressing some grander issues such as the environment and the history and future of fishing.Greenlaw does have a few sentences sprinkled throughout and it's clear that from her viewpoint that the environment hoopla about overfishing is overblown and while these statements do make the reader long for more knowledge on the topic, I guess the authenticity of the book is that we get the raw one-sided opinion of a true fisherman (woman) and not some policy wonk.A very good read. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0786885416
    Subjects:  1. 1960-    2. Anecdotes    3. Biography & Autobiography    4. Biography/Autobiography    5. Fishing - General    6. General    7. Grand Banks of Newfoundland    8. Greenlaw, Linda,    9. Sailing - Narratives    10. Sports & Recreation    11. Swordfish fishing    12. Women    13. Biography & Autobiography / Women    14. Reading Group Guide   


    The Perfect Storm : A True Story of Men Against the Sea
    by Sebastian Junger
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Mass Market Paperback (01 July, 1998)
    list price: $6.99 -- our price: $6.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France

    Editorial Review

    Meteorologists called the storm that hit North America's eastern seaboard inOctober 1991 a "perfect storm" because of the rare combination of factorsthat created it. For everyone else, it was perfect hell. In The Perfect Storm, authorSebastian Junger conjures for the reader the meteorological conditions that created the"storm of the century" and the impact the storm had on many of the peoplecaught in it. Chief among these are the six crew members of the swordfish boat theAndrea Gail, all of whom were lost 500 miles from home beneath roiling seasand high waves. Working from published material, radio dialogues, eyewitness accounts,and the experiences of people who have survived similar events, Junger attempts to re-create the last moments of the Andrea Gail as well as the perilous high-seasrescues of other victims of the storm.

    Like a Greek drama, The Perfect Storm builds slowly and inexorably to its tragicclimax. The book weaves the history of the fishing industry and the science of predictingstorms into the quotidian lives of those aboard the Andrea Gail and of others whowould soon find themselves in the fury of the storm. Junger does a remarkable job ofexplaining a convergence of meteorological and human events in terms that make themboth comprehensible and unforgettable. ... Read more

    Reviews (861)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Beware of offensive language
    This is a true story of men against the sea, battling a fierce storm.
    For mature readers only.Not only does the book require a high reading level, but it includes instances of offensive language.Near the beginning, there is a lot of reading about sailors spending time in bars.Also, the nature of the book causes there to be detail about people drowning, weather systems and ship design.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A little over dramatized
    But good nonetheless.

    Now that they turned this into a movie everyone knows the basic premise - that a small fishing vessel gets lost in a monster storm in the northeast.Having seen the movie first, I was actually surprised at how they turned the story around for the screen, switching some truly critical details to make the story a little more silver screen.

    The author tells the story of the Andrea Gail and her 5 crew members through a series of educated guesses and inferences.He then surrounds these with all sorts of backup information and interviews that give you an idea of what could have been happening on the vessel without trying to say for a fact what happened - since it still unknown.So, for example, when Junger guesses that the window of the boat were probably blown out he then interviews fisherman who have lived through losing the windows on the bridge to give you a truthful account of what it could have been like on the AG.He also goes into quite a few side stories about weather, fishing, rescue operations - anything else that pertains to the story.

    While on the whole the book is good it is obvious in many place that the facts and the story have been sensationalized to increase the drama and suspense.Without it, the story would have been just as good, a little more honest and better work overall.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A well written book about a killer storm
    This book is part weather report, part fisherman's tale, and part climatological lesson.On their own, chances are the book would have been a flop.But throw them together, and add a spice of human interest, and you have the makings of a great book.

    Sebastian Junger does a nice job of writing about a storm that took place off the coast of New England, and the effects it had on the community.And although one might thing a story about a storm might be kind of dull, the storm is really the main character of the book.Every detail on what goes into turning your average run-of-the-mill storm into a 'perfect' storm is well researched and well written.And perhaps most importantly, it is written in such a manner so that the average read isn't lost in a lot of scientific talk.

    No matter what your background is, if weather is something that interests you, and on some levels weather and its causes and effects interests everyone, this book is worthwhile reading. ... Read more

    Isbn: 006101351X
    Subjects:  1. Biography / Autobiography    2. Natural Disasters    3. Nature    4. Nature/Ecology    5. New England    6. Northeast storms    7. Oceans & Seas    8. Specific Groups - General    9. Storms    10. Nature / Oceans & Seas    11. Reading Group Guide   


    Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (11 May, 1999)
    list price: $15.95 -- our price: $10.85
    (price subject to change: see help)
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France

    Editorial Review

    The facts speak for themselves. In 1857, the Central America, a sidewheel steamer ferrying passengers fresh from the gold rush of California to New York and laden with 21 tons of California gold, encountered a severe storm off the Carolina coast and sank, carrying more than 400 passengers and all her cargo down with her. She then sat for 132 years, 200 miles offshore and almost two miles below the ocean's surface--a depth at which she was assumed to be unrecoverable--until 1989, when a deep-water research vessel sailed into the harbor at Norfolk, Virginia, fat with salvaged gold coins and bullion estimated to be worth one billion dollars.

    Author Gary Kinder wisely lets the story of the Columbus-America Discovery Group, led by maverick scientist and entrepreneur Tommy Thompson, unfold without hyperbole. Kinder interweaves the tale of the Central America and her passengers and crew with Thompson's own story of growing up landlocked in Ohio, an irrepressible tinkerer and explorer even in his childhood days, and his progress to adulthood as a young man who always had "7 to 14" projects on the table or spinning in his head at any given moment. One of those projects would become the preposterous recovery of the stricken steamer, and the resourcefulness and later urgency with which the project would proceed is contrasted poignantly with the Central America's doomed battle in 1857 to stay afloat.

    Thompson, who spent nearly a decade planning and organizing his recovery effort, emerges as one of the great unsung adventurers of these times (the technical innovations alone required for such a task produced a windfall for the scientific community and defined a new state of the art for deep-sea explorers and treasure hunters), and the story of the steamer's sinking is compelling enough to make any reader wonder why the Central America sinking isn't synonymous with shipwreck in this Titanic-happy age. --Tjames Madison ... Read more

    Reviews (177)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Where's the movie???
    My dad suggested I read this, rather casually if I remember correctly.He said he thought I'd like it, but not much more.What an understatement!Just as one of the reviews on the back of the book states, I lost sleep, skipped meals, and was obsessed with what would happen next.What amazes me most is that this REALLY HAPPENED-and quite recently too.I agree with the other reviewers who complained about the lack of photos.I think it was on purpose.Tommy Thompson didn't get to where he is by overexposing himself or his secrets.He must have said, one way or another, "I'd rather you not show any pictures, and let the facts speak for themselves".Gary Kinder has written a masterpiece, plain and simple.I wish more people knew about this book.Instead of spending time doing drugs or watching TV, they should read this and be reminded about what it's like to really live.I felt like I could accomplish anything after reading this book.I recommend it to everyone.You won't be sorry-I promise.Just know you'll sacrifice sleep, food, and most of the rest of your life plowing through this--

    5-0 out of 5 stars "The greatest treasure ever found"--$1 billion in gold!
    Gary Kinder tells three spell-binding narratives as he describes the search for the SS Central America, a sidewheel steamer which left Panama in 1857 and went down in the Atlantic while carrying gold from California (then valued at over $2 million). First person accounts by some of the survivors tell of the ship's journey, the hurricane which suddenly arose in the Atlantic, and the frantic efforts of crew and passengers to keep the engines fired and the ship afloat. Touching love stories revealed in these accounts give human faces to the drama, as women and children were put into lifeboats while their husbands stayed with the ship.

    These survivor accounts alternate with the narrative of the life of young Tommy Thompson, a phenomenally inventive child who grew up in Ohio, studied engineering, became fascinated by the challenges of underwater engineering, and eventually worked for famed treasure hunter Mel Fisher, learning what kind of underwater equipment was needed but not available. In the early 1980s, Thompson, more interested in research than in treasure, decided to search for the SS Central America, with the backing of a group he convinced to underwrite his expedition. As the ship was thought to be in eight thousand feet of water, deeper than had ever been explored, Thompson would succeed only if he could design the necessary equipment.

    The third story describes the search for the ship itself, a search which had two false starts before the site was finally located. Kinder develops almost unbearable tension as he describes how Thompson has to fend off rivals who are "treasure hunters," rather than scientists. Thompson's experimentation with equipment, the comprehensive documentation of the site through photographs and film, the legal battles for the rights to the salvage, and the final recovery of "treasure" ranging from gold bars and coins to beautifully preserved suitcases of clothing are vividly portrayed.

    A book with appeal to historians, engineers, marine scientists, adventurers, and all who pursue dreams, Kinder brings the entire recovery process to life, honoring the efforts and heroism of the Central America's Captain Herndon, the indomitable spirit of Thompson as he developed unique robots and equipment to explore the ocean at depths of over a mile, and the scientific commitment, rather than treasure-hunting, which inspired Thompson, his crew, and his backers, the Columbus-America Discovery Group. Gripping, and filled with the wonder of discovery, this is non-fiction at its most exciting best. Mary Whipple

    5-0 out of 5 stars Absorbing
    This book had a fantastic layout.The historical accounts mixed with the ongoing events of an incredible engineering feat.The tension of the searches, and the battles of competition during the search.This is a must read and will put analytical people in awe.. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0375703373
    Subjects:  1. Central America (Ship)    2. General    3. History    4. History - General History    5. History: World    6. Maritime History    7. North Atlantic Ocean    8. Ships & Shipbuilding - Shipwrecks    9. Shipwrecks    10. Survival after airplane accide    11. Survival after airplane accidents, shipwrecks, etc    12. United States - 19th Century    13. History / United States / 19th Century   


    Before the Wind : The Memoir of an American Sea Captain, 1808-1833
    by ThomasPhilbrick, CharlesTyng, SusanFels, WilliamLa Moy
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 June, 1999)
    list price: $24.95
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France
    Reviews (14)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Getting rich the hard way
    While Charles Tyng's brothers became wealthy as doctors, lawyers and land-based businessmen, Charles (due to his poor study habits) was forced to pursue the much more dangerous and uncertain vocation of sailor and sea-merchant.This is definitely no dry account of business deals.This story is about Charles' struggles against cruel and incompetent superiors, ferocious storms at sea, mutinous and violent crews, pirate attacks, shark attacks and, for good measure a bout with cholera.If even half of Tyng's account is true, he was very, very lucky to live to old age.Tyng was obviously a man who was very curious by nature and so he was able to describe in detail many aspects of the people, places and operations that he witnessed (such as whale hunting, sugar processing, and opium smuggling).Most of it is very interesting because it paints a piture of a world very different from our modern world.Tyng himself is likable, for the most part, although he definitely was a bit of a rogue; he pulls a few pratical jokes on people that adds some humor to the story.I only give it four stars because there were a couple short dry patches in the book.Overall, though, very enjoyable.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Depends on you
    If you're not already into this stuff, it will put you to sleep.

    If on the other hand, like me, the mere mention of the days of tall ships fills your lungs with salt air, gets your sea legs in motion, and gives you a faraway thrill, then this becomes the definitive life story of every sailor who ever went to sea.

    And this guy has been through it all: pirates, mutinies, shipwrecks, storms, cruel officers, exotic foreign shores, wars (on both land and sea, including the American revolution and the China traders), sharks, starvation, marriage (that ultimate adventure), disease, and even "haunted" ships.

    Beautifully written in the eloquent style of a man who had been an illiterate cabin boy and eventually educated himself with distinction, it even chronicles the effects that his life at sea had upon the way his family saw him and the business world dealt with him, and contains vignettes about minute aspects of life back then that I'd never been aware of.

    What a find!

    5-0 out of 5 stars a compelling yarn
    A delight to read, Tyng's memoir only disappoints by ending too soon. For anyone who has read Morison's Maritime History of Massachusetts or my own recently published BULLOUGH'S POND and wondered what merchant shipping was really like, Tyng has the answers.But you can enjoy this book even if you bring no questions to the table, as long as you enjoy a good adverdure story well told.Diana Muir ... Read more

    Isbn: 0670886327
    Sales Rank: 620078
    Subjects:  1. Adventurers & Explorers    2. Biography    3. Biography & Autobiography    4. Biography / Autobiography    5. Biography/Autobiography    6. Historical - General    7. Historical - U.S.    8. Merchant Marine    9. Merchant mariners    10. Ship captains    11. United States    12. Biography & Autobiography / General   

    The Captain's Wife: A Novel
    by Douglas Kelley
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (23 August, 2001)
    list price: $23.95 -- our price: $23.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France
    Reviews (19)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Could have been so much better . . .
    I agree with a previous reviewer who wrote "I was particularly bothered by Douglas Kelley's attempt to portray her most intimate physical desires. Those paragraphs are out of place,."

    My other problem with the book was in the editing. Not too far into the book, when Keeler comes aboard, he describes Hare standing next to Keeler and says something about the "second mate looked small next to the SECOND mate's bulk."HOW did that get past the editors? Also in the first couple of chapters, facts are unnecessarily repeated. It seems as if this was written as a serial, and readers needed to be brought up to date and reminded of the characters. It was disconcerting enough that I almost didn't read the rest.

    But I did. And the story was quite enjoyable and entertaining. I bought the book in San Diego while visiting the HMS Rose and the Star of India. I could just imagine all the sails and riggings as I read.

    What an amazing woman. Despite the editing troubles, Mr. Kelly does a good job of bringing Mary Patten's adventure to life.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Read
    I enjoyed this blend of fact and fiction which is woven into the enjoyably readable tale of Mary Ann Patton's voyage from New York to San Fransisco on her husband's clipper ship. Although few facts are known about Mary Ann Patton,I wanted to believe that Douglas Kelley's account has filled in the missing pieces of this fascinating character's story. I was left wanting to learn more about Mary Ann after her remarkable voyage. An excellent read for those interested in the resourcefulness of historical woman in the 18th century.

    5-0 out of 5 stars We need more writers like Kelley
    The characters in this book are neither flat nor predictable.Kelley writes an excellent book that makes even the complexities of sailing easy to understand. It's a clean wonderful read, and I highly recommend it.One of the better books I've bought in a LONG time. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0525946195
    Sales Rank: 700434
    Subjects:  1. 1826 or 7-1857    2. 1837-1861    3. Fiction    4. Fiction - Historical    5. Historical - General    6. Patten, Joshua A.,    7. Patten, Mary Anne Brown,    8. Sea & Ocean    9. Ship captains    10. Ship captains' spouses    11. Women and the sea    12. Patten, Joshua A    13. Patten, Mary Anne Brown    14. Reading Group Guide   


    Nathaniel's Nutmeg : Or, The True and Incredible Adventures of the Spice Trader Who Changed The Course Of History
    by Giles Milton
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (12 May, 1999)
    list price: $24.00
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France

    Editorial Review

    Would you believe that nutmeg formed the basis of one of the most bitter international conflicts of the 17th century, and was also intimately connected to New York City's rise to global preeminence? Strange but true: nutmeg was, in fact, one of the most prized commodities in Renaissance Europe, and its fascinating story is told in Giles Milton's delightful Nathaniel's Nutmeg.

    The book deals with the competition between England and Holland for possession of the spice-producing islands of Southeast Asia throughout the 17th century. Packed with stories of heroism, ambition, ruthlessness, treachery, murder, torture, and madness, Nathaniel's Nutmeg offers a compelling story of European rivalry in the tropics, thousands of miles from home, and the mutual incomprehensibility which often comically characterized relations between the Europeans and the local inhabitants of the prized islands.

    At the center of the action lies Nathaniel Courthope, a trusty lieutenant of the East India Company, who took and held the tiny nutmeg-producing island of Run in the face of overwhelming Dutch opposition for more than five years, before being treacherously murdered in 1620. To avenge his death, and the loss of the island, the British took the Dutch North American colony at Manhattan. (As Milton wittily remarks, although Courthope's death "robbed England of her nutmeg, it gave her the biggest of apples").

    Inevitably inviting comparisons with Dava Sobel'sLongitude, Nathaniel's Nutmeg is a charming story that throws light on a neglected period of European history, and analyzes its fascination with the "spicy" East. --Jerry Brotton, Amazon.co.uk ... Read more

    Reviews (61)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Explains a lot about history
    I always knew there was something called the "Dutch East India Company" and similarly a "British East India Company" but in school I never quite got what they did or why they were important. For me this was a fascinating book that brought a lot of historical context to life.The fact that I live in Asia, love sailing, and love cooking might be additional factors that make me more open to this book than some others have been.

    3-0 out of 5 stars An adventure for the imagination
    On the off chance that like me you've read Big Chief Elizabeth and Samurai William (or at least one of them), it may be worth me stating that in my opinion this is the least impressive of the three. In agreement with the review below, Nathaniel's 'story occupies only a small part of this book', and it remains a trifle unconvincing that his 'endeavours were pivotal in the course of history'.

    That being said, there are all the usual details - from tragic biographies to prolonged and agonising torture - to keep you turning the pages, and it is certainly interesting to read once again about how horrible those Dutch were to the poor English (as can also be read about in Samurai William). Then, of course, Milton is great at weaving a yarn together, and it is always fascinating to read about the exploits of various larger-than-life adventures; particularly those exploits centred on parts other than the 'spiceries' themselves. The book is a light and enjoyable read, but it is most certainly worth a read. Milton's greatest contribution to history is, I feel, his abilities to take a reader's imagination so convincingly back to a time of pirates and uncharted adventure.

    4-0 out of 5 stars doesn't quite make it
    Giles Milton is a superb story teller, but this time he doesn't quite pull it off. We are tantalized in the subtitle by the story of a spice trader who changed the course of history, but Courthope's story occupies only a small part of this book. Valuable and interesting information about the early explorations is given, but the story wanders. Literally, it wanders, from the Hudson Bay to the Spice Islands. My attention wandered, too.

    Overall, this is an interesting book, but Milton did not convince me that Courthope's endeavors were pivotal in the course of history. He was one player among many. Any one could have been chosen as `the spice trader who changed the course of history.'

    BTW, Chinese observed sunspots long before the Europeans Milton claims were the first to do so.
    ... Read more

    Isbn: 0374219362
    Subjects:  1. 17th century    2. Asia - General    3. Europe - Great Britain - General    4. Food And Beverage Industries (Economic Aspects)    5. History    6. History - General History    7. History: World    8. Indonesia    9. Industries - General    10. Maluku    11. Modern - 17th Century    12. Nutmeg industry    13. Southeast Asia - History    14. Spice trade    15. Spices    16. Coen, Jan Pieterszoon    17. Courthope, Nathaniel    18. History / Southeast Asia   

    Typhoon and Other Tales (Oxford World's Classics)
    by Joseph Conrad, Cedric Watts
    Average Customer Review: 1.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 September, 1998)
    list price: $7.95 -- our price: $7.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France
    Reviews (3)

    3-0 out of 5 stars This is a good book if you only look deeper...
    For the other reviewers, I can't believe that the only things you gathered from the book was that it was about 2 gay men and a typhoon.The book is about how people react in times of crisis, and how sometimes you can't run away from your problems; you have to face them head-on.We have MacWhirr, who is innocent, calm, and quiet, yet unwaivering and unknowingly bold during the time of disaster.Then there's Jukes, who jabbers constantly, passes judgement on people, and during time of crisis he freezes, is mostly pessimistic, and practically daydreams.And finally, there's the second mate, who is an all around sneaky and immoral person, who during bad times often "jumps ship" and declares defeat before it's even begun.MacWhirr says many times throughout the story that you have to face things, and you don't know if somethings really bad unless you have been right in the middle of it.It's a story about a man who's had his normal, peaceful life turned upside-down by an unrelenting and, in the end, revealing storm.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Huh? What was that about????????????
    I basically have no idea what the author was writing about throughout the whole entire story.Conrad confused me...obviously he was very confused when he wrote it, too!Also, if he was trying to convey a story about acouple of fruity people in Typhoon, it worked!!!

    1-0 out of 5 stars What?
    Basically that is what I was asking myself through the entire book. What is going ON? I dunno, something abt a typhoon and these two gay guys on a ship I think ... Conrad needed a therapist. I think he was confused. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0192837877
    Sales Rank: 1645697
    Subjects:  1. Classics    2. Conrad, Joseph, 1857-1924    3. Fiction    4. General    5. Literature - Classics / Criticism    6. Literature: Classics    7. Sea stories, English   


    Longitude : The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time
    by Dava Sobel
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (01 November, 1995)
    list price: $19.00 -- our price: $12.92
    (price subject to change: see help)
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France

    Editorial Review

    The thorniest scientific problem of the eighteenth century was how to determine longitude.Many thousands of lives had been lost at sea over the centuries due to the inability to determine an east-west position. This is the engrossing story of the clockmaker, John "Longitude" Harrison, who solved the problem that Newton and Galileo had failed to conquer, yet claimed only half the promised rich reward. ... Read more

    Reviews (226)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating
    I had never heard of John Harrison or the quest for an accurate measure of longitude before reading this book.I was fascinated that someone virtually unknown to history invented something so meaningful. The author's prose was very engaging, interesting me in Harrison's personal life as well as his professional. The science is written in a way that it doesn't gloss over the facts but makes it understandable for those of us without a scientific mind.She also does a very nice job of explaining the machinations behind Harrison having trouble collecting the prize because he was a watchmaker and not a man of science.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Loved the concept. Disappointed by the book.
    The concept is fascinating but the execution is poor.The science didn't carry the book, nor did the story.As a story, it was lacking in writing that conveyed dramatic tension of character development.On the other hand, it failed to compensate by really delving into the science behind the issue. I was very disappointed by what should have been a more compelling story from the perspective of technology and human interest.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Epic tale of achievement and envy
    18th-century watchmaker John Harrison solved the longitude aproblem by including a fourth dimension - time - to map the world. He encountered massive opposition from a powerful astromical establishment which regarded mechanical solutions with contempt.

    As a non-scientist, I found the book a great read. The first chapter gives background from Ptolemy to Harrison, including the passing of a Longitude Act and the institution of a Longitude Prize, to be determined by a Board. The last two chapters extend beyond Harrison's demise (1776), covering the chronometer's mass production and technological developments.

    The intervening material covers disastrous pre-longitude sea voyages, early attempts to map the heavens and calculate lunar distances, and the technology of early clocks.Kudos to Sobel for maintaining intelligibility and excitement.

    Despite his achievements, Harrison suffered heartbreaking tribulation at the hands of an envious nemesis, Nevil Maskelyne (himself no mean astronomer) and the obstructive Board of Longitude. They withheld his money, put him and his fragile timepieces to crushing practical trials, and impounded them so that they could copy his ideas.

    An epic cast of kings, astronomers, sailors, mathematicians, and a scope of many generations help to make this an inspiring, informative and pragmatic work.

    ... Read more

    Isbn: 0802713122
    Subjects:  1. Biography    2. Biography / Autobiography    3. Children: Grades 4-6    4. Chronometers    5. Clock And Watch Making    6. Clock and watch makers    7. Great Britain    8. Harrison, John,    9. Historical - British    10. History    11. Juvenile Nonfiction    12. Longitude    13. Measurement    14. Practical And Spherical Astronomy    15. Science & Technology - General    16. Scientists - General    17. Harrison, John    18. Transportation / Navigation   


    The Sea Wolf
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 April, 1984)
    list price: $4.95 -- our price: $4.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France
    Reviews (68)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Depravity breeds depravity in this wonderful adventure story
    This very powerful story about a brutal sea captain and the effect that his depravity and evil have on anyone that he is in contact with is a true adventure story as well.Jack London knew how to tell a story, and this book is a page-turner.Not only that, it has some of the best descriptions of sailing one of the old "tall ships" I've ever read.There is a chapter in the book that is a superb description of sailing one of these ships in a bad storm.Mr. London's descriptions of this and other catastrophic events at sea is so realistic that the reader sees it all as he or she reads it.London's political ideology does show through in spots.London was a firm believer in Socialism, and he does put forth these ideas at times in the book.His villain - Wolf Larsen, is the most evil man you'll ever encounter between the covers of a novel.The development of Humphrey from an ineffectual, bookish type of man, to a man that can subsist on his own wits and by the actual use of his own hands is the common thread that runs through the book.Even though he is in close proximity to the evil Larsen, Humphrey does not let Larsen's depravity change his own morals and his own essential goodness.

    4-0 out of 5 stars First half: GREAT, last half: weak
    Humphrey Van Weyden, a pampered son of wealth, has lived a comfortable life of bookishness and learning in 1890's San Francisco.But everything changes when an accident on a ferry-trip across the bay leaves him floating helpless in a foggy sea.He is picked up by a schooner heading out to hunt seals, captained by the vicious Wolf Larsen.He is immediately pressed into service as cabin-boy aboard the Ghost, and learns a different kind of life than he has been raised to know.Wolf Larsen is not only brutal and overbearing to everyone he encounters, but he is also highly intelligent, having taught himself reading and mathematics."Hump," as Humphrey is called by the Captain, gains some measure of favor with the Captain as he is able to discuss philosophy and such things of which the rest of the crew is wholly ignorant.

    The characters and plot are intensely compelling, especially throughout the first half of the book where the drama is intense as he struggles to survive aboard the Ghost.His observations of the other crew members are interesting, as he discovers how different their lives are from his, and he feels pity for the things they lacked and which he took for granted.Also, the character of Captain Larsen is incredible; completely horrible yet you feel a sort of sympathy even for him.

    My biggest complaint with the story is at about its midpoint where a woman character enters the story.The struggle for life suddenly takes on a different meaning for Humphrey, as he now has someone other than himself to worry about, but this changes the whole mood of the story.The struggle is no longer filled with the painful drama, but practically turns into a romance, and a fairly sappy one, at that.It's also here that the book slows down with quite a few long passages about the mechanics and technical details of ships and sailing.But overall a very interesting tale of struggle - it's just unfortunate that the ending wasn't as strong.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Starts off strong, but becomes lackluster by the end.
    Humphrey van Weyden is a gentleman. He has never had to work for his living, or do a single task for himself. All that changes when the ferry-steamer Martinez, running across the mouth of the San Francisco Bay, is wrecked after a collision with another boat in the fog. Van Weyden is tossed into the sea, and eventually picked up by another boat. But this is no ordinary boat. It is the Ghost, a seal-hunting schooner captained by Wolf Larsen, who is far from being an ordinary man. He snickers at Van Weyden's offers of money in exchange for taking him to shore, and instead conscripts the unfortunate man to replace a recently-deceased member of the Ghost's crew. Van Weyden's trials encompass far more than merely learning how to work on a ship. He must also find his place in the strange web of heirarchy among the men. More precarious yet is his relationship with the captain.

    We soon find out that Wolf Larsen is a monster of a man, possessing superhuman strength and a complete lack of deference to any idea of morals. He is certainly one of the most fascinating characters I've come across in my reading. You fear him, you hate him, and yet there is still something to admire about him. He commands respect. He can kill a man with the strength of his hands alone, but he is also something of a self-educated philosopher. He has clearly studied Darwin, and continually likens life to a ferment of yeast, in which the natural way of things is for the stronger to consume the weaker. And yet, despite Larsen's superhuman image, London manages to keep him plausible for the reader by giving him his own Achilles's heel, which becomes more and more apparent as the story progresses. "The Sea-Wolf" is worth reading for a character study of this man alone. Unfortunately, however, the second half of the book shifts its focus, losing sight of the Van Weyden-Larsen relationship and simultaneously losing much of the driving force behind the story.

    Almost as soon as Maud Brewster entered the story, I began to lose interest. Shipwrecked and adrift in a small boat, she is picked up by the Ghost much as Van Weyden was. She, too, is refused passage to land. And inevitably, a romance develops between Brewster and Van Weyden. The story makes an abrupt change in course from one of survival and complex relationships between the ship's men, to that of a love story. But what a silly and unconvincing love story it is! London just doesn't write women well, nor does he make the relationship between Van Weyden and Brewster in any way believable. Maud is a flat character, and just doesn't seem real. She is also full of ridiculous contradictions. She is alternately described as a frail lily and a cavewoman. She bestows the name of Lucifer on Wolf Larsen, but turns all to pity and mush the moment he is struck by one of his headaches. The story would have been much better with romance left out and the focus kept on Van Weyden's personal struggle with Larsen.

    The strength of this book definitely lies in its first half. London's writing is strong and vivid, and he does a superb job of capturing the nuances of each relationship between crew members. I only wish he had stuck to that. Every writer has his niche, and London's is not in the romance genre. The second part of the book is contrived, predictable, and does little to hold one's interest. The ending is dissatisfying. It is, however, worth finishing in order to discover what end comes to the aforementioned Wolf Larsen. This is the only element of the latter part of the book that really intrigued me. So read "The Sea-Wolf" for its adventure component, found in the first half, and read it for the wonderfully crafted character of Captain Larsen. But don't expect too much out of the latter half and its conclusion. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0553212257
    Sales Rank: 61009
    Subjects:  1. Classics    2. Literature - Classics / Criticism    3. Literature: Classics    4. Fiction / Classics   


    Captain Bligh's Portable Nightmare
    by John Toohey
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (01 March, 2000)
    list price: $24.00 -- our price: $24.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France

    Editorial Review

    Ignore the silly title; this book is a gem. Subtitled "From the Bounty to safety--4,162 Miles Across the Pacific in a Rowing Boat," it tells the little-known story of what happened to Captain Bligh after the Bounty mutineers herded him and those 18 other crewmen who refused to go along with the mutiny into a 23-foot-long boat and set them adrift in open ocean. And it is a continually amazing tale.John Toohey writes vividly but unpretentiously, bringing to life Bligh's youthful service with Captain Cook, an experience of mapping the South Seas that served him well when he eventually came to be marooned, as well as his Bounty experience. Navigating by the stars, bailing frantically as storms filled the tiny vessel with water, and eating the foulest stuff imaginable (when a booby was foolish enough to perch on the edge of the boat, they carved it up, discovering "to their joy" half-digested flying fish and squid in its stomach that they also ate "greedily"). You end up agreeing with Toohey that crossing the Pacific in a small boat under these incredible conditions constitutes "one of the greatest achievements in the history of European seafaring," and that Bligh himself--poor, maligned "sadist" Bligh--was actually a thoroughly decent and even heroic figure. It is a book out of the Longitude school, but a superior example of the type. Captain Bligh's Portable Nightmare could just resurrect the man as a neglected hero. --Adam Roberts, Amazon.co.uk ... Read more

    Reviews (11)

    5-0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read
    It's rare that I give 5 stars for a book review but this, in my opinion, has earned it. I'm a self-confessed Bounty-phile, sucking up all the literature that she has to offer and this was no exception.

    William Bligh must go down as one of the most maligned persons in history. This from a man who acted as second in command to Cook in his early 20's, became governor of Australia and, as this book explains, sailed over 4000 miles from memory in a 23 foot boat losing not a single man during the voyage.

    Toohey starts us with the happenings at Keakekua Bay, Hawaii the day Cook was murdered. This, according to Toohey, stayed with Bligh all his years and coloured his actions thereafter. Sections of the book contain dialogue between the men in the boat; this has to be guessed at obviously but Toohey makes a decent stab at it.

    This wil not take you long to read but will provide some valuable information on an oft-neglected area of the whole Bounty lore.

    1-0 out of 5 stars A rehash of old material
    This is simply a rewrite of what has already been published many times. William Bligh published a full account in 1792 with the full title, "AVoyage to the South Sea Undertaken by Command of His Majesty for thePurpose of Conveying the Bread-Fruit Tree to the West Indies in HisMajesty's Ship the Bounty Commanded by Lieutenant William Bligh and anAccount of the Mutiny on Board H.M.S. Bounty and the Subsequent Voyage ofPart of the Crew in the Ship's Boat, from Tofoa, One of the FriendlyIslands, to Timor, a Dutch Settlement in the East Indies."That bookwas republished in 1961 with a shortened title, "The Mutiny on BoardH.M.S. Bounty."I am sure that there are copies in various librariesand private collections.Nordhoff and Hall published a fictionalizedversion, and that seemed to lead to a spate of books in the 1930's aboutthe life of Vice Admiral William Bligh.The story is well known, and thereis little to add.Bligh's problems came mainly from inexperience coupledwith his own brash way of addressing people.He took command of the Bountyat the age of 33, and it was his first command of a Royal Navy vessel. Prior to that he had been a ship's master, with a very short period as alieutenant.He was on his own far from the fleet. His skill as a navigatorsaved the crew members in the ship's boat (although many died from illnessafter reaching Batavia, a well known fever port).

    3-0 out of 5 stars Did not compare well to fictionalized 'Men Against the Sea'
    While this book was nicely written and a quick read, I did notparticularly enjoy it. While the story of Bligh and his men and theirjourney across the South Pacific is truly one of the most amazing storiesof sea survival ever to occur, this book tooled thru so much of the journeyso quickly that I never got the sense of its scope or its heroic nature. Ialso agree with comments of other reviewers that it did not convey Bligh'sgreat leadership abilities well. In that regard the fcitionalized 'MenAgainst the Sea' (Nordhoff and Hall) did a much better job. If anything,this telling made me more understanding of the resentment of the men in theboat (as opposed to those who stayed behind after the mutiny) againstBligh, while the novel made it clear that the same qualites of control andrigor which resulted in the mutiny are also the major reasons that Blighand his men survived the journey. I would heartily recommend the entireMUTINY ON THE BOUNTY trilogy for those who are interested in the Bountystory over this somewhat factual account. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0060195320
    Subjects:  1. Admirals    2. Biography    3. Bounty Mutiny, 1789    4. Europe - Great Britain - General    5. General    6. Great Britain    7. History    8. History - General History    9. History: World    10. Military - Naval    11. Voyages And Travels    12. Bligh, William   


    The Pirate Hunter: The True Story of Captain Kidd
    by Richard Zacks
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (June, 2002)
    list price: $25.95 -- our price: $17.13
    (price subject to change: see help)
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France
    Reviews (46)

    4-0 out of 5 stars More about politics, less about piracy...
    I read this book several months ago, and I liked this book very much not only because this book contained a lot of interesting anecdotes of sailors and pirates, but also because it helped me to understand British politics in late 17 century. For example, stories about man-eaters in Andaman Islands and tailed people in Nicobar Islands were fascinating enough, though I am still not sure whether there were really tailed people in Nicobar Islands in the 17th century.
    But the focus of this book is on the British politics of the times. Captain Kidd was not a pirate, but a pirate hunter or a privateer. And he was a decent man according to the standard of the times. The King of England was one of his sponsors. He was actually doing King's business. But he became a pirate quite mysteriously. His biggest mistake was that he endangered the interest of British East India Company by seizing a merchant ship of a prince of Mogul Empire. The ship was carrying a French pass, and France was at war with England. Seizing the ship was, therefore, a perfectly legal operation according to the law of the times. But the Emperor of India thought that British East India Company should be responsible for it. And the company had to compensate for it thereby setting a bad precedent.
    Captain Kidd was from Scotland, but he wanted to become an admiral of British Empire. Blinded by his ambition, he could not understand the political current of the times. So his entire life was ruined. Compassion for this unfortunate man!

    3-0 out of 5 stars Great Subject - Okay Writing
    This is a fascinating subject - what's the real story of Captain Kidd? I was so excited to get this book - and disappointed in the writing style.Mr. Zacks writing is factual, but unfortunately he jumps around and is not engaging to the reader.Read it if you must find all the details -- but for the overall story -- Stick with "Under the Black Flag", "The Pyrates" by Daniel Dafoe and "The Pirates own book".

    5-0 out of 5 stars Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction
    The Captain Kidd who comes down to us through oral tradition bears no resemblance whatsoever to the true Captain Kidd, and as is almost always the case with the mythologies of historical persons, the truth is even more fascinating than the myth.

    Richard Zacks has written a marvelous reconstruction of the rise and demise of Captain William Kidd. Zacks' depth of research and attention to detail fully immerses the reader in the period. It is the late 17th Century, the American Republic is, as yet, still two generations away. The British Empire consists only of a tentative foothold in Bombay, scurvy is still the scourge of sea travel, and ships are steered at the rudder rather than via the more familiar wheel.

    Some readers may be overwhelmed by the level of detail Zacks includes, but without this detail The Pirate Hunter would have been little more than a minor work; a hobby topic. I found Zacks' style of writing to be quick and quirky, while his construction of historical events read like an adventure novel. The reader completes The Pirate Hunter with not only a deep knowledge of the life and motivations of Captain Kidd, but also a strong understanding of this period in history.
    ... Read more

    Isbn: 0786865334
    Sales Rank: 94852
    Subjects:  1. 1701    2. Biography    3. History    4. History - General History    5. History: World    6. Kidd, William,    7. Maritime History    8. Modern - 17th Century    9. New York (State)    10. Pirates    11. Reference    12. History / Reference    13. Kidd, William    14. Biography & Autobiography    15. Adventurers & Explorers   


    Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before
    by Tony Horwitz
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (02 October, 2002)
    list price: $26.00 -- our price: $17.16
    (price subject to change: see help)
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France

    Editorial Review

    Captain James Cook's three epic 18th-century explorations of the PacificOcean were the last of their kind, literally completing the map of the world.Yet despite his monumental discoveries, principally in the South Pacific, Cookthe man has remained an enigma. In retracing key legs of the circumnavigator'sjourney, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tony Horwitz chronicles the culturaland environmental havoc wrought by the captain's opening of the unspoiledPacific to the West, as well as the alternately indifferent and passionatereactions Cook's name evokes during the writer's journeys through Polynesia,Australia, the Aleutians, and the explorer's native England. Horwitz skillfullyweaves a biography and travel narrative with warm humor that is natural and human-scale, and his restless inquisitiveness quickly infects the reader. Whilestriking dichotomies abound throughout that journey--Maori toughs who adopt Naziimagery to symbolize their own fight against white domination, millennia-oldPolynesian sexual mores that would shame the Reeperbahn, a sense thatChristianity decimated native cultures at least as effectively as Westernvenereal diseases did--few are more poignant than the ones that abound in Cook'sown life. This fine work is an adventurous reminder that answers to historicalriddles are elusive at best--and seldom as compelling as the myriad newquestions they pose. --Jerry McCulley ... Read more

    Reviews (64)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book
    I am both a fan of "travelogues" and of anything to do with the sea and sailing, so this was the prefect book for me. However, even if you lack an interest in either, it is still a wonderful book. Horwitz writing style is familiar, very funny and yet very informative. I really don't understand some of the lower ratings here. The main objection seems it doesn't seem to fit some standard formula of a travelogue. Pardon me, but what does that have to do with anything?

    3-0 out of 5 stars An Enjoyable Modern Travelogue
    "Blue Latitudes" is entertaining and informative, both concerning Captain Cook, and the modern day situation of all his various landfalls. Horowitz essentially has written a biography of the navigator, and added in his own story about globe-hopping in the man's wake.

    And it is interesting, believe me. The almost universal hatred of Cook in the South Seas, the aimless violence of Maori gangs, sailing aboard a replica of the Endeavor, all of these things are contrasted with a gritty picture of life during the actual explorations. Punishment, navigation, nutrition, everything sea-story readers want.

    But, while I enjoyed the book, it wasn't exactly my sort of travelogue. The biographical bits were great, but the modern stuff didn't interest me that much. It focused mainly on the culture of these places today, and while that is interesting, I was hoping for a bit more of the wilderness. Of course, perhaps that was the whole point. There is no wilderness anymore.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Good Stuff
    I wasn't all that interested in explorers until I read this book. since having done so, i have since read or am reading several other such non-fiction books.

    I liked the book's comparison between Cook's day and today's reality: Tahiti, for example, conjures up images of a tropical paradise with a promise of escape from stress. Not so, it turns out. Today's Tahiti is polluted, crime-ridden, hot and buggy. - Not a place I would've imagined.

    This book enlightened me via honestly describing real life. That's what I like. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0805065415
    Subjects:  1. 1728-1779    2. Adventurers & Explorers    3. Biography & Autobiography    4. Biography/Autobiography    5. Cook, James,    6. Expeditions & Discoveries    7. History - General History    8. Modern - 18th Century    9. Oceania    10. Travel    11. Voyages around the world   


    1-18 of 18       1
    Prices listed on this site are subject to change without notice.
    Questions on ordering or shipping? click here for help.


    Books - Biographies & Memoirs - People, A-Z - Hooked on maritime adventure stories.   (images)

    Images - 1-18 of 18       1
    Click image to see details about the item
    Images - 1-18 of 18       1